Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes have questioned the performances of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay against Liverpool.
The trio – much like most of their team-mates – were ineffective and outclassed by Liverpool on Thursday, with only goalkeeper David de Gea emerging with any credit.
Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino scored as Liverpool secured a two-goal advantage in the first leg of their Europa League round of 16 tie.
“We beat you at times down the years, but whenever we went into a season, or a game, we always felt we were chasing you,” Carragher said. “But looking at those teams now and this game — I know you say there isn’t much you can change and it could still go wrong in the second leg, but I’ve never seen such a difference between Liverpool and Manchester United in one game.
“Another thing I couldn’t believe was the captain. Juan Mata? I’m not criticising him — I like him, he gets a few goals and assists. But, if everyone is fit, does he even get in the team?”
Scholes replied: “That is exactly what I said: how is Juan Mata captain? He’s a good player and he’s had a good month. But to be captain of Manchester United?
“I don’t think there are many real leaders in there. Chris Smalling? The goalkeeper? They, possibly, could be captain but are they real Manchester United captains?
“[Anthony] Martial and Mata were ineffective here. They got bullied. Mata looked like a 10-year-old at times. Memphis? You just don’t know what you are going to get from him.
“But you need to get the ball to these players to see what they can do. They will have more time to do that at Old Trafford.”